365 days of orchids – day 430 – Paphiopedilum tonsum

There are always Paphs in flower in the greenhouses and one to look forward to every March is Paphiopedilum tonsum. This species which is native to North and Central Sumatra where it is found from 1000-1800m altitude as a terrestrial in deep humus and deep shade.

We have found that the species resents bright light and we keep it well shaded all year by both shading and the natural shade of large plants that grow above it.

In these conditions the attractive leaves flourish and flowers are produces on long vertical stems giving it a very stately presence. Plants flower throughout the spring and early summer with large plants flowering over a long period. As we mentioned in a previous post the likely pollinator is a wasp that will be temporarily trapped in the pouch before climbing to freedom up a ‘ladder’ of hairs at the back of the pouch, pushing past the stigmatic surface and emerging with the sticky pollen attached and ready to pass to the next flower it visits.


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